Two nights ago, I found the perfect film for this purpose. Rivers and Tides is a joint Irish-German production about Andy Goldsworthy, a sculptor and environmentalist whose site-specific land art is some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. Working only with natural elements, Goldsworthy creates pieces that explore the ephemerality of nature and time, and often end up consumed by very environments from which he draws his inspiration:
Much of Goldsworthy's work is less permanent; he often works in ice, in leaves, and in sticks, in places not amenable to permanent structures. This type of impermanence in art can often come across as whimsical, but Goldsworthy's commentary throughout the film shows that he is interested in the ephemeral not because it is pretty, but because it is a window into collaboration with nature.
In a week where I've spent the majority of my work time thinking about technology, risk, and retaining a sense of 'place'-fulness in theories of the virtual, and most of my play time reading Rutsky's High Techne and Tichi's Shifting Gears (both about technology and art), Rivers and Tides was a profoundly beautiful reminder that the modern can be natural, and that the ephemeral and the eternal are as present in nature as they are in culture.